How online counselling can support partners of individuals with problem alcohol or other drug use

Samara R Wilson, Simone Rodda, Dan I. Lubman, Victoria Manning, Marie B.H. Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background Problematic alcohol and other drug (AOD) use impacts partners heavily, with an increased risk of experiencing domestic violence, financial stressors, health problems and relationship challenges. However, partners often do not seek help or support due to a range of barriers (e.g., shame, stigma, practical constraints). Online counselling may facilitate help-seeking by overcoming many of these barriers, however research is needed to explore what motivates partners to contact online counselling services, their experiences and needs, and how partners can be best supported online. Method One hundred transcripts of partners of individuals with problem AOD use were sampled from a 24-hour national AOD synchronous online chat counselling service. Descriptive content analysis was used to investigate themes related to help-seeking. Results Three broad themes, with seven sub-themes, were identified: (i) the reason for accessing online counselling (seeking advice, wanting to talk), (ii) discussing help-seeking and coping processes (past/present help-seeking or coping strategies, barriers and facilitators to seeking help and change), and (iii) planning for future assistance (future planning, treatment preferences). Conclusions Partners wanted to talk about their concerns with a non-judgemental professional. However, the majority of help-seekers wanted advice and assistance in problem-solving, coping and the process of seeking further help. Future studies need to examine the impact of online help-seeking by partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Alcohol and other drug (AOD)
  • Family
  • Help-seeking
  • Online counselling
  • Partner
  • Qualitative

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